One of the UK’s most rapidly growing and expansive cities, and fast becoming a technological hub for Yorkshire and the North, Leeds has seen unparalleled evolution in recent years. With a population of over half a million people, and plans in the works to see that rise even further, it’s abundantly clear that the city has its doubtless draws.
However, while the flourishing prospects of Leeds are enticing prospects for entrepreneurs and families alike, it’s the city’s equally expanding crime rate that sullies that slightly. But just where in the sprawling metropolis of Leeds is most affected by criminal behaviour?
With this article, Churchill Support Services will examine the most dangerous areas of Leeds, and how they stack up when compared to the overall rate for the city. As one of the UK’s foremost providers of security solutions, this is an area we’re particularly passionate about, and we’ve long been firm believers that good crime prevention starts with good education.
We’ll look at what types of crime plague each area, and the key statistics you’ll need to make an informed decision about your future home or business.
In the interests of providing a completely objective and unbiased overview of crime in Leeds, we’ve sourced our data from the official, open source police reports available on the UK Police Data website. These are broken down by police forces, and Leeds falls under the jurisdiction of West Yorkshire Police.
We’ll then display this data as a ratio of crimes per 1000 people living in each region, over the last 12 months (back to June 2022). This ratio allows us to account for different variables such as
We’ve used the local council wards to split down the wider Leeds area, and better provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how crime is more prevalent across certain areas than others.
Officially classified as one of just 11 “Core Cities” UK-wide, Leeds has long since cemented its place as a major player in the UK’s economy. An exceptionally diverse landscape of cutting-edge technology, coupled with the heritage that Yorkshire is famed for, the city creates the storybook definition of an English city where architectural triumph meets a burgeoning economy.
Of course, that’s not all Leeds offers. It’s a beacon for cultural enlightenment too, ranging from the vibrant sporting scene of top-flight football, championship rugby and country-leading cricket, to a huge collection of prized paintings, artwork and sculpture in the city’s myriad galleries and institutions.
While these edifying factors paint a picture that’s all positive, there’s the distinct, disturbing rumbling of a soaring crime rate. The city saw an alarming 172.4 crimes per 1000 residents over the course of the last 12 months, or 88,120 separate instances of criminal activity.
Leeds’ main issue lies in the climbing figures in violent crime (36,393 incidents), which is more than 25% higher than the county-wide average, and makes up more than 27% of all total violent crime offences across the whole of West Yorkshire.
The city also faces an uphill battle in combatting its worrying figures across public order offences (11,689 incidents), criminal damage (7970 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (7088 incidents), all of which have seen a rise over the previous year’s figures.
Of course, these are all symptomatic of the city as a whole, and don’t necessarily represent the issues that every area of the city will face. Let’s look in more depth at the most dangerous areas of Leeds, and how their crime rates and issues compare with the city as a whole.
Situated just outside of the centre of Morley, this council ward stretches from the town’s northern reaches to include key places like Churwell, Drighlington and Gildersome. While Morley North’s rurality may seem idyllic, it’s the ward’s crime rate of 130.7 crimes per 1000 residents that reduces that appeal significantly.
The primary issues facing the ward are the growing rates of both violent crime (1021 offences) and shoplifting (602 offences), which together account for 50% of all crime across Morley North. These come in addition to a worryingly growing rate of criminal damage (235 offences).
Encompassing the town of Morley, as well as the western reaches of Tingley village, it’s Morley South’s sense of culture and heritage that makes it an attractive prospect, and especially so in the neoclassical architecture of its Grade-1 listed town hall. However, with a crime rate that’s above the city-wide average at 133.7 crimes per 1000 residents, there are negatives to consider.
The town’s main issues lie in soaring figures across both violent crime (1284 incidents) and public order offences (430 incidents), with violent crimes making up more than 40% of the region’s total crimes. Plus, the rising rate of burglary (159 incidents) is equally concerning for residents and businesses alike.
Historically a richly industrial town, and one with deep and visible connections to religion in the spires of its abbey and churches, Kirkstall has seen numerous upgrades in recent years to become a modern and convenient centre for its residents. That modernity comes at a price, though, with the area seeing a crime rate of 146.3 crimes per 1000 residents.
Kirkstall’s predominant issue lies in the high rate of violent crime (1251 incidents), which accounts for 39% of all crime in the region. Of course, that’s not the only issue facing Kirkstall residents – there’s also soaring numbers in public order offences (375 incidents) and, more worryingly for businesses, shoplifting (313 incidents).
A grouping of two of Leeds’ main suburbs, the council ward of Cross Gates and Whinmoor has transformed its image in recent years, metamorphosising from a quaint Victorian settlement into a vibrant commuter hub for the city centre. However, with that change comes a much inflated crime rate of 147.2 crimes per 1000 residents.
That’s worrying for a number of reasons, not least the substantial figures in violent crime (1476 incidents), public order offences (450 incidents) and criminal damage (381 incidents). Perhaps equally alarming for businesses, though, is the region’s climbing rates of shoplifting (257 incidents).
Home to one of Leeds’ many self-sufficient economies, the ward of Bramley and Stanningley encompasses everything from local and artisan businesses, to high street mainstays and supermarkets. Despite these home comforts, though, the region’s crime statistics undercut that retail paradise, sitting at a concerning 153.8 crimes per 1000 residents.
Violent crime (1471 offences) is the most prevalent issue in the area, making up just under 40% of the total crimes in the city. That’s in addition to soaring figures across criminal damage (386 offences), antisocial behaviour (325 offences) and shoplifting (240 offences).
So named for its listed building that dates back to the Jacobean era, the district of Temple Newsam offers much more beyond its clear sense of heritage, and has fast become a residential hub for the city. However, in spite of its clear and present sense of history, the region faces daunting odds with it crime rate of 171.8 crimes per 1000 residents.
The main issue for Temple Newsam, and one that’s similarly prevalent city-wide, is the rising rate of violent crime (1251 offences). Sadly though, this isn’t the full extent of Temple Newsam’s issues – high rates across antisocial behaviour (487 offences), criminal damage (419 offences) and shoplifting (389 offences) further compound the region’s problem with criminal activity.
Named after the park at the centre of this Leeds council ward, Middleton Park juxtaposes 470 acres of rolling hills and scenic vistas against the built up backdrop of residential areas like Belle Isle, as well as a thriving local economy. However, undercutting that idyllic scenery is a crime rate that belies its surroundings, sitting at 180.7 crimes per 1000 residents.
Middleton Park’s main issue lies in an alarming rate of violent crime (2417 incidents), as well as substantial figures across public order offences (610 incidents) and criminal damage (505 incidents), both of which have seen an increase over previous years’ numbers.
One of Leeds’ greener spaces, the borough of Headingley and Hyde Park pairs the flora and fauna of its eponymous park with the bustling residential streets and retail opportunities of Headingley. While this may seem like the ideal balance between nature and convenience, the region’s crime rate of 182.1 crimes per 1000 residents sullies that significantly.
The ward’s main issues lie in the spiralling figures across both violent crime (1907 incidents) and public order offences (627 incidents), but the region also sees some of the highest figures in theft (595 incidents) and burglary (319 incidents) across the city.
Perhaps most know as the home of Leeds United football club, the area of Beeston and Holbeck attracts much more than just a sporting crowd thanks to its busy industrial areas, as well as its abundant opportunities for residents and businesses alike. This diversity comes at a cost, though, with the area seeing a concerning crime rate of 183.4 crimes per 1000 residents.
For residents of Beeston & Holbeck, the main concern is a high rate of violent crime (1727 incidents), but with a large proportion of businesses choosing to take root in both Beeston and Holbeck, soaring figures in criminal damage (395 incidents), drug crime (378 incidents) and theft (302 incidents) are also similarly worrying.
Predominantly residential in its scope, the ward of Farnley and Wortley hosts high-rise flats and tightly compacted cul-de-sacs, as well as treasured local gems in its quaint shops and homegrown businesses. It sadly also plays host to a growing crime rate of 189 crimes per 1000 residents, which has seen a substantial increase in recent years.
The region’s biggest concern for both homeowners and businesses alike is the rising number of violent crimes (2096 offences), which accounts for almost 43% of all crime in the Farnley & Wortley area. Plus, with rising figures across both criminal damage (471 offences) and antisocial behaviour (387 offences).
Home to a significant portion of Leeds’ council housing, and some of its more underprivileged areas, the ward of Killingbeck and Seacroft has seen minimal funding in recent years, despite its expanding population. That combination has doubtless contributed towards its soaring crime rate of 197.1 crimes per 1000 residents, or just under 1 in 5.
Violent crimes (2256 incidents) are the main problem facing the ward, as is the case with much of the city area. However, equally worrying are the high numbers across both public order offences (715 incidents) and criminal damage (493 incidents), as well as figures in burglary (272 incidents) which are among the highest Leeds-wide.
Historically a centre for milling, as well as a major contributor towards the city’s expanding economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, Armley has since taken a less economically important role in Leeds. Now home to towering tower blocks and Victorian terraced housing, it’s this dense population that sees Armley experience a soaring crime rate of 229.5 crimes per 1000 residents.
The main problems for the ward lie in substantial rates of violent crime (2613 offences) and criminal damage (653 offences), both of which pose a notable risk to both businesses and residents alike. The same is true of the ward’s rate of shoplifting (333 offences), which is among the highest we’ve seen across the city.
Covering both the inner-city area of Harehills as well as the suburb of Gipton, this council ward is one of Leeds’ most populous, with an estimated 30,879 people living in and around the streets, flats and housing schemes of the region. That close quarters living unfortunately has led to an inflated crime rate of 241.4 crimes per 1000 residents.
In terms of prevalence, the main problem for Gipton and Harehills is violent crimes (3122 incidents), which makes up an estimated 42% of all crime in the area. That comes in addition to concerning numbers across public order offences (963 incidents), criminal damage (642 incidents) and antisocial behaviour (517 incidents), as well as a rate of drug crime (389 incidents) that equates to more than one offence every day.
A grouping of two residential areas that have their roots firmly planted in Leeds’ illustrious industrial past, both Burmantofts and Richmond Hill paint an ideal picture for a young family or budding entrepreneur. However, with the second highest crime rate across Leeds at 242.8 crimes per 1000 residents, it’s not all positivity for the region.
The ward’s most pressing problems stem from the worryingly high figures across violent crime (2990 incidents) and public order offences (878 incidents), although the ward’s shocking rates of shoplifting (480 incidents) and theft (432 incidents) are equally alarming.
The ward that encompasses Leeds’ city centre, the beating heart of England’s 4th largest city, Hunslet and Riverside takes in many of the things that make the city a pivotal part of its county and the country. From its prestigious college of art, to the range of retail spaces and vibrant nightlife, it’s unfortunate that the City Centre sees the highest crime rate city-wide – 615.6 crimes per 1000 residents.
Violent crime (6216 offences) is the city’s most prominent crime, and that’s equally true for the centre too, with violent offences making up 31% of the total crime in the region. There’s also a significant amount of concern for the rising numbers we’ve seen in shoplifting (2510 offences), public order crimes (2198 offences) and theft (1885 offences).